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Upside-Down Caramel Apple Cake {vegan, gf option}

vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, gf option
An upside‚Äźdown cake for the cooler months. Apples are caramelised in vegan butter, brown sugar, vanilla bean and cinnamon then topped with a spiced cake, rich with coconut yoghurt and olive oil. Flip it over and you have a thing of simple glory. This would be equally delicious with whatever fruit is in season where you are. I make a version with citrus slices and rosemary, or you could use peaches, nectarines, figs, persimmon, etc.
Servings 8



  • 3 tbsp vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste / seeds of 1 vanilla bean (and the pod, remove before baking)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • little squeeze lemon juice
  • 4 - 5 medium apples (I like pink lady), cut in half, cored and cut into slices about as thick as your pinky finger


  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup white spelt flour, all-purpose, or gf all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup chickpea/besan flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup packed light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup good tasting, mild extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut yoghurt or other plant-based yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 20 cm / 8 inch round cake tin and line the bottom with a round of baking paper.
  • Heat the butter, sugar, maple, vanilla paste, cinnamon, and lemon juice in a wide shallow pan over low-medium heat until the butter has melted. Add the apples in an even layer and allow to gently cook in the syrup for 10 minutes, stirring gently on occasion. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit until cool enough to handle. Then arrange the apples in the lined pan, making sure they are nice and snug and close to each other.
  • Pour the almond milk and apple cider vinegar into a measuring jug. Mix gently and leave to 'activate' for 10 minutes to create 'buttermilk'.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sea salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together 'buttermilk', sugar, olive oil, yoghurt, and vanilla until smooth. Fold the wet mixture through the flour mixture until just combined (or whisk together well if using a gf flour), then spoon the batter over the top of the apples, and even it out with a spatula.
  • Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with no gooey batter attached. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then carefully invert onto a cooling rack and lift the tin off. It should slip right out, slide a knife around the edge if it needs a little help. Allow to cool completely then serve.